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Transition raises fire district budget

Documents show 46 percent increase

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Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012 1:23 pm

The Coastside Fire Protection District staff has released the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year, and it’s expecting less money and greater operating expenses than in the current fiscal year.

Actual revenue in 2011-2012 was $8,891,949 — $792,338 more than what had originally been budgeted. A tax rebate worth $637,673 that had not been included in the budget accounts for most of the increase, along with a decrease in the district’s own property taxes, which accounted for another $50,000. This year, expected property tax revenue is lower, totaling $8,745,845.

Operating costs in 2011-2012 were lower than anticipated at $6,811,299, as compared to the budgeted $7,640,251. The proposed budget for 2012-2013 suggests operating costs will jump 46 percent or $3,175,481 to $9,986,780. Much of the increase, about $2 million, is attributed to the potential cost of transitioning to a stand-alone department.

Typically, this money would be put in reserves, said board President Doug Mackintosh.

“We’re holding it for transition costs — we’re not by any means saying that these transition costs will be $2 million,” he said.

The fire district is in the midst of establishing an independent fire department as CalFire’s management contract is set to expire in the summer of 2013. The state fire agency has managed day-to-day operation on the Coastside since 2008, but this year a majority of district board members has argued that a Coastside only district would better meet the needs of locals.

Staff reports included with the budget suggest that proposed revenue and costs represent conservative estimates.

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